A contract signed by the Ministry of Transport while headed by former minister Lubomir Vazny (Smer-SD) led to the ministry paying out EUR 612,000 for paid interviews on news channel TA3.
The contract was signed in December 2008 with the TV station for the production of 2 documentaries and 11 short 10-13 minute long interviews. The interviews promoting the drawing of EU funds through various operational programmes cost almost EUR 50,000 each and the presenter did not announce that they were in fact paid advertisements, which is against the law.
According to analyst Gabriel Sipos, the ministry paid something like five times the normal price of advertising space on the medium, according to the TV channel’s own price list. Even though the Broadcasting and Retransmission Board also notes the discrepancies, it cannot investigate cases older than one year.
The contract was published by the new government as part of its new system of publishing public contracts signed by the government and its ministries. The TA3 news channel broadcast the interviews in 2008-2009 and upholds that the contract was in line with the law.